Elizabeth Constituency Election Headquarters Of
Rodney Moncur / February 2nd 2010
Duane Sands is Disqualified
Article 48, Section 1(j) of the Constitution of The Bahamas states that ” No person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the House of Assembly who is interested in any government contract and has not disclosed the nature of such contract and of his interest therein by publishing a notice in the gazette within one month before the day of election.”
This is the supreme law of the land and, in the case of the up-coming bye-election in Elizabeth on February 16, 2010, this means that any one who contemplated running in the bye-election and who had a contract with the Government, had to make such a declaration in the Official Gazette on or before January 17, 2010, thirty days before the election.
That person should have then brought a copy of that Gazette to the Returning Officer on 29th January 2010, nomination day, as documentary evidence that he had complied with Article 28, Section 1(j).
On nomination day, Dr. Duane Sands declared before the Returning Officer in a letter dated 29 January 2010, that he owned shares in a medical company which had a contract with the Bahamas Government.
At no time before this, and in the stipulated time-frame did Dr. Sands disclose in the Gazette his interest as it related to this contractual relationship with the Government, although this disclosure is clearly stipulated by the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.
The first time that Dr. Sands disclosed his contract with the Government was on February 1st 2010, fifteen days too late, according to the Constitution; and this happened only because the disclosure was incidental in the Government Notice of Nomination in a Contested Election, published by the Parliamentary Registration Department.
I charge that the Returning Officer should have detected this flaw in the nomination of Dr. Sands, just as he detected a flaw in the nomination of Mr. Godfrey Pinder.
Once Dr. Sands had advised Mr. Jack Thompson, the Returning Officer, in his letter of 29 January 2010, that he had a contract with the Bahamas Government, Thompson should have then demanded, promptly and on the spot, evidence that Sands had complied with Article 48 1(j).
Unfortunately, he did not do this. And so Dr. Duane Sands, although in full violation of one of the fundamental rules of free and fair elections, is a candidate in the up-coming election.
This amounts to a grave travesty of democracy perpetrated on all the Bahamian people by the Free National Movement under Hubert Ingraham; and Dr. Duane Sands should disassociate himself from this shameful disgrace, withdraw from the race and return to his medical practice which this country so desperately needs.
I welcome political competition and I am not afraid of it. I have been in front line politics longer than all of the other candidates. However, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and every citizen, and the Government as well, must adhere to the provisions therein.
I charge that Dr. Duane Sands is disqualified from running in the up-coming bye-election because he has not complied with the requirement of the Constitution as outlined in Article 48,1(j), which constitutes one of the fundamental qualifications of a candidate.
And I therefore call on Dr. Duane Sands to act honourably and drop out of the bye-election forthwith; he and all his FNM hosts.